I didn’t think it would be proper to let 2011 come to a close without first reflecting on some of the important health stories in Southwest Virginia during the year.
This isn’t the final word in important health news. So, please tell me if you agree, or point out what stories I failed to include.
(And, to be clear, this is not a ranking. The order is entirely random)
First, this is not a local story, but it has local implications. Clearly the national health care overhaul has an impact on everyone, including individuals, state government and businesses. Virginia’s part in challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is just one of many stories that played out this year.
Another related and ongoing national story has been the rising cost of health care. We see it in the comments on this blog related to the increasing premium rates people are facing. And there are stories about how businesses are trying to slow the rising costs by offering new wellness and prevention programs, and incentives to stay healthy.
Now, to five local stories I think are worth remembering:
- LewisGale Medical Center lost its fight to open a neonatal intensive care unit to meet the health needs of its tiniest patients. And then, the Salem hospital, took the battle to court.
- Dr. Ed Murphy left his post as CEO at Carilion Clinic, and Nancy Agee took over the leadership duties.
- A whooping cough outbreak in Floyd was among the reasons a Roanoke pediatric office decided it would no longer treat patients whose parents rejected vaccines and the childhood immunization scheduled recommended by public health officials.
- Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital no longer met the state requirements for being Southwest Virginia’s only comprehensive place for treating trauma patients. While, the flagship hospital of Carilion Clinic, never lost its top-tier trauma status, it came under scrutiny for its ability to retain and recruit needed physicians. Just this month, Carilion said it has resolved the problem.
- Advocates from Roanoke and across the state succeeded in getting the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring Virginia insurance companies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of young children with autism spectrum disorders. But, an amendment by Gov. Bob McDonnell may prolong the law taking effect.